Cyrenians helps older people in West Lothian stay connected

A Bield housing development in West Lothian has teamed up with national charity Cyrenians to help older people in the local area log on and stay in touch with loved ones.

Cyrenians helps older people in West Lothian stay connected

Blackfaulds customers learning digital skills

Cyrenians has donated a brand-new desktop computer following its work to help customers at Blackfaulds Court learn digital skills.

Customers at the Fauldhouse development, which is operated by Bield Housing and Care, have been extremely enthusiastic about the classes as the modern world digitises, they don’t want to be left behind.

The classes have been a massive learning experience and shown immense value, especially throughout the last 18 months to keep in contact with family and friends.

Cyrenians, which is largely known for its homelessness prevention efforts, runs more than 40 different preventative services including its ‘Older People Active Lives’ (OPAL) programme which aims to help older people be independent and remain in their own homes for as long as they can.

Pauline Moffat, service manager at Cyrenians OPAL, said: “The team has been involved with Blackfaulds Court for over five years now and it’s amazing how much has changed digitally in that time and we’ve been able to pass this knowledge onto the customers there.

“Sessions are always engaging and each visit we see an increase in confidence and positive benefits that is coming with the new skills.

“It’s a really rewarding project as we hear lovely stories how the new skills have helped make life better, especially as many were able to keep connected during the pandemic. Our sessions provide skills that people of retirement age often wouldn’t get a chance to learn.

“There is a big demand at Blackfaulds for this type of equipment and teaching so we’re glad we are able to fund it through the Tormywheel Wind Farm grant fund in association with Fauldhouse Community Development Trust.”

Cyrenians helps older people in West Lothian stay connected

Margaret Hendry, Bield customer

Prior to covid, OPAL also facilitated an activity group in Blackfaulds Court where residents and locals could get together to have fun, make new friends and look after their physical and mental wellbeing. This group will return in January 2022.

Cheryl Baillie, development manager at Blackfaulds Court, added: “Both staff and customers are so thankful for everything Cyrenians OPAL and Fauldhouse Community Development Trust has done for the development.

“Since the digital learning classes started the customers have learned so much and gained the know-how that many were able to independently connect with their families during a tricky 18 months – which was a proud moment as many couldn’t previously have done that.

“As well as learning new skills, the club has also encouraged social engagement.”

Cyrenians take the customers through one-on-one group sessions to inform them on how to use the computer in order to do online shopping, video call families and use email.

Margaret Hendry, Bield customer, said: “To be able to learn new digital skills like this at no extra cost really is a great benefit of where we live. It’s also going to make a big difference having our own computer in the development.”

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